The National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN), Abia State Chapter, has flagged-off the 2021 oil palm planting season, with the distribution of seedlings to small holder farmers and rural communities in 24 states of Nigeria.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony in Umuahia, the Abia State Chairman NPPAN, Linda Onubogu, said NPPAN is the umbrella body for small holders’ farmers, small plantation owners, nursery operators, processors, as well as millers, marketers, buyers in oil palm/palm kernel value chain in Abia State.
According to the NPPAN Chairman, the group’s mission is to become the leader of oil palm produce industries in Abia State, providing expertise both technically and financially to members.
Onubogu disclosed that since her assumption of office as the Abia State chairman of NPPAN, the association has pursued the programme of getting the interest of every member across the 17 Local Government Areas of the state, to plant at least ten oil palm trees.
She revealed the association has trained its members on oil palm production, a training that had impacted them tremendously on oil palm management.
The training according to Onubogu, further exposed members to various improved technologies as well as oil palm basics and rudiments.
To restore the long lost glory of oil palm industry, the Abia NPPAN chairman said that the poor oil producers who are in their thousands, should be encouraged financially, so that an efficient and strong palm oil sector could be built in Abia State and Nigeria at large, thereby making the poor to be part of the solution to poverty challenge, as well as unemployment.
She, however, stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria should modify the Anchor Borrower’s Programme to accommodate oil palm, as well as provide special fund for the development of oil palm sector.
Onubogu further stated that Nigeria can do better than Malaysia and Indonesia in oil palm production with land mass and weather that is amenable to grow oil palm, calling on everyone to join in repositioning oil palm as a mainstay of Nigerian’s economy, thereby making her position as a net exporter of palm oil.
Speaking with the Press, the General Manager Abia State Passenger Integrated Manifest Safety Scheme (ASPIMSS), Ezinwa Abiri, thanked the Governor of the state for providing the farmers with improved oil palm seedlings, saying that the farmers should be expecting high yield this time.
Abiri, however, pleaded with the NPPAN in Abia State to articulate itself so as to access loans met for oil palm growers.
Another big time farmer who spoke with the press, the Traditional Ruler of Mbasa Amasaa Autonomous community in Ugwunnagbo Local Government of the state, Eze Chris Ajuzie, outlined the usefulness of palm fruits.
According to him, from the flesh of the palm fruits to the kernel and shell are all important, therefore the need to support its production across Nigeria.
The monarch commended the Governor for distributing the over 1000 improved seedlings to Farmers.
Earlier, a representative of the CBN in Umuahia, disclosed the reason behind the banks inability to give loan facility to oil palm growers.
According to him, the peculiarity of the commodity, as it takes a very long time before a particular palm tree can begin to yield fruits.
The CBN representative, however, promised that the bank is reviewing modalities of giving out loans, so that those into oil palm production can also benefit.
While calling on the association to organise themselves in a manner that won’t cause conflict when the need for them arise, the CBN Rep further thanked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for his efforts so far in beefing up oil palm production in the state.